A film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Wednesday, May 06

21:00 — Mindpirates Projektraum


“Social comedy doesn’t get any nastier than “Martha”   Stephen Holden, NY Times

Martha is trapped and she can’t escape.  Her sadistic prison keeper has her under lock and key, and even when she manages to escape friends and family seem unable to help her.  That’s because she’s married to her keeper, her prison is a middle class house, and she was raised for captivity.  

The first Mindpirates Film Night to screen a Fassbinder movie begins with what we believe to be one of his most poignant achievements.  Fassbinder made MARTHA for television, but this rarely screened classic stands up there with the most celebrated of his work. 

“In a flood of creativity unheard of among modern directors, he made films like he smoked cigarettes, one after another, no pause in between… What matters is that the films came from deep within.”  Robert Ebert

Fassbinder completed 40 feature films, 2 television series, and numerous plays and short films, before his death from a drug overdose at the age of 37.
He was a central figure in New German Cinema, and his filmmaking involved friends and lovers in a strange extended family that often mirrored the themes being portrayed on screen.
He was an extreme libertarian in his personal and political life as well as in the subject matter of his films, and left a body of work both so complex and diverse – from melodramas to dystopian science fiction to the Western – that its themes and style are constantly revisited, dissected and referenced all over the world.
He left a mark that arguably German Cinema still hasn’t fully recovered from, and is acknowledged by filmmakers like Scorsese (who went on to use his cinematographer, Michael Ballhaus), to François Ozon as a major influence.

“I detest the idea that love between two persons can lead to salvation. All my life I have fought against this oppressive type of relationship. Instead, I believe in searching for a kind of love that somehow involves all of humanity.” ― Fassbinder

Fassbinder was influenced by Hollywood films, especially the female-driven melodramas of Douglas Sirk, whose use of human emotion and its expression in every surface and detail he became increasingly obsessed with.
MARTHA is based on ‘For The Rest of Her Life’ by Noir Crime writer Cornell Woolrich, (whose cinematic adaptations include Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW), and Fassbinder hones the suspense of Hitchcock and the melodrama of Douglas Sirk to hysterical fever pitch – all the while retaining the pitch-black humour that underlines his other dissections of family life such as ‘WHY DOES HERR R. RUN AMOK?’ 

“Sirk has said: ‘cinema is blood, is tears, violence, hate, death, and love… you can’t make films about things, you can only make films with things’”  ― Fassbinder

All of life’s blood and tears can be seen in MARTHA, as scene by scene they are buried alive.